03/07/2011 at 03:00 PM EST
Comedian Mike DeStefano, who was a finalist on Last Comic Standing
, died of a massive heart attack Sunday night at age 44.
"I am deeply saddened to hear about Mike. He was not only an outstanding comic but more importantly a wonderfully warm human being who deeply cared about people," Last Comic Standing
executive producer Peter Engel said in a statement Monday. "We will all laugh a bit less because of losing Mike."
DeStefano's death was first confirmed by friend of the comedian's family to Punchline Magazine
DeStefano, who was set to perform his one-man show A Cherry Tree in the Bronx
on Wednesday, had just finished a string of sold-out shows called Drugs, Disease and Death: A Comedy
. His life experiences – heroin addiction and the loss of his wife – were said to be the influence behind the acts. He had been clean for 11 years at the time of his death and was HIV positive.
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